DIY-ing Myself: How to Find the Right Diet for You
When I turned 47, I knew it was time to put myself on the to do list and start DIYing myself. It took a long time and I’m sharing tips on how to find the right diet for you.
This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been up and down in my weight many times before, but suddenly, what had worked for me in the past just stopped.
Had my body changed? Was it my age? Or was it my premenopausal stage?
I know I’m not the only one who tries many different diets hoping to find one that they can keep up with long term to stay at a healthy weight.
This has been a frustrating process for me and my hope is that in sharing my journey, that it helps those who may also be struggling. Especially for those in the same middle age slump as me!
So I am answering lots of questions of how I found a diet that works for me, what diet I’m doing, and how I’m tracking.
I shared on instagram how I’ve lost 25 pounds after struggling for a long time.
And when I say long time, I mean, a very long time – 3 1/2 years, to be honest.
But you should know that this isn’t my first weight loss journey. It’s been a struggle ever since I became a Mom.
How to Find the Right Diet for You
Round One – I Made Goal!
Back in 2008, I joined Weight Watchers (now WWs) and lost 70 pounds on their Points Plus Program and became a Lifetime Member.
In fact, I had another blog before Noting Grace! It was called Can’t Weight Any Longer.
It’s long gone, so you won’t find any remnants on the internet.
I loved the WWs program, and I lost the weight in about 7 months, but I had a major setback.
3 years after I made goal weight, in 2011, I started training to run a half marathon and injured my foot. Being ordered off my foot for 6 months including a major surgery and long recovery, I slowly started to gain weight again.
5 years after I made Lifetime, I almost got back to my starting weight! I was so disappointed in myself.
Round Two – Almost Successful
So when we moved to our Almost Farmhouse in Tennessee, I spent the first few years acclimating to the major change of moving cross country, but didn’t really try to lose the weight right away. In fact, I hit my highest weight ever recorded.
It was a pivotal moment for me. I immediately began exercising and was able to almost 10 pounds.
But I know what I had to do,go back to the WWs that worked before. And it still worked for my body.
Until the change…
About halfway through the process, they completely changed the program in 2016 and suddenly it stopped working for me.
I was within 8 pounds of goal and not only was I stuck for months, but I started to gain again.
When I went to my Dr, we figured that it was an anxiety medication I was taking for my panic attacks. If you want to read about my panic attacks, you can check out this post.
I tried to continue, but the damage was done to my metabolism and I had gained all that weight back over the next year.
If you’ve made it this far, BRAVO!
This next round is where I really learned how to find the right diet for my body. I wouldn’t call this a body type diet, and there are many different types of diets out there.
Everyone is different, so what works for my body, may not work for you.
Be patient with yourself if you are in the learning process.
And since I am not a doctor and haven’t played one on TV, made sure you consult your physician before trying any weight-loss plan. Some of these diets may not work for if there are underlying health issues.
Round Three – The Major Struggle
I remember clearly when all this started. It was January 2019 and I knew I needed to make major changes to my eating habits. I was on a mission to
I didn’t like how I looked and it showed in my confidence – or lack there of!
When you don’t feel good in your own skin, it’s hard to put yourself forward. After hitting a brick wall of discomfort, I finally knew I needed to make this change, for good this time.
Now here’s where the battle began.
I went back to WWs, but was hesitant since it was still this new program. After 3 months, I lost a total of 6.2 pounds.
That was a clear indicator for me.
I knew it was time to finally say good-bye and leave the program that had worked so well for me.
Again, I sought out advise from my Dr. and she suggest a low carb diet. The was at the pinnacle of the Keto diet craze. I’m not a fan of fad diets, but was curious to see what it was all about. So I thought, why not? I love me some red meat!
And I gave it a true try for about 3 weeks. I lost 7.4 pounds.
But my body was very angry with me and even though I passed the ‘keto flu’ stage, I felt incredibly unhealthy and even experienced digestive issues. I had a hard time sticking with a high-protein diet.
I listened to my body and made the switch to low carb per my Dr’s recommendation.
Over the next 7 weeks, this worked really well for me. I researched low-carb diets and set my daily intake to 60 carbs. I started to see the scale move again and lost another 9.6 lbs (17 lbs total) but then, it stopped.
You could hear the tires screeching to a halt.
I kept tracking and nothing budged for months. In fact, I even saw a slight gain.
I was utterly frustrated and broken down. I decided to take a break for the holiday season.
Now we are at New Year 2020, and I had gained back 15 of the pounds lost over 3 months. I came across Heidi Powell, and started learning about Carb Confusion and the importance to cycle your daily carbs in order to make your body a burning machine. Cycling carbs, macros or calories help prevent that dreaded plateau!
So I hit all the recommended calculators and found out my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and Recommended Daily Carbs and started cycling between low carb and high carb days, even including a cheat meal!
As far as weight loss, I really didn’t see much success – even though I learned a lot about my how my body works during this time.
So I changed it up again!
Heidi Powell introduced macros on her website and showed how she was counting her protein, fat, and carbs instead of counting calories. I went back to those calculators and figured out my Macros for my body.
Again – I learned a lot about what types of foods are good for me and how the Macros work.
Making the right food choices for the best nutrition is so important. This changed how I viewed the food groups and learned the importance of healthy fats for our system. Low-fat diets are a thing of the past! Olive Oil is your friend!
And even though I learned so much, I didn’t have any success as far as weight loss counting macros after about a month.
During this education process, I read an article about intermittent fasting and learned how beneficial it could be for the body including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
This was the first time my body began to shift. Not so much in weight, but I could tell a difference in tone and how my body felt.
COMBINING CARB CYCLING, COUNTING MACROS, & FASTING
At this point, I was getting frustrated that the scale wasn’t moving, so I looked at some popular diets going around. Itried a combo of Carb Cycling, Counting Macros and Intermittent Fasting similar to this fad diet.
Let me tell ya – I felt like I was juggling cats while riding a skateboard.
Tracking all those elements that fall on different days was complete mental confusion for me!
It was just too much to keep up with at this busy stage of my life.
Except for the Intermittent Fasting. It’s so easy and I liked how I felt doing it, so I knew that would be something I wanted to stick with.
This is Dieting 101 – so back to the basics I went. Health experts have said for years that fewer calories and increased physical activity are the best way to reach your weight loss goals.
Eat less, move more!
At this point, I was throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to see what would stick!
And guess what? It worked! The scale finally began moving! And it moved super fast!
But I gave it a twist.
After l tried on all these other hats, I thought I would give a combo another try and here is my current, made-up-all-by-myself plan that I’m doing.
I have lost 25 pounds so far and my body is happy. I feel healthy and strong and am excited to share what finally works for me.
My Current Plan – 2 Parts
A lot of you asked exactly what I diet plan am doing and how I found a diet that worked for me. I truly believe that I needed to learn my body first as well as learning more about what my body needed in calories and nutrition.
With all the carb/calorie confusion I read about as well as the calculators showing me how many calories I needed each week, I combined two elements: Calorie Confusion and Intermittent Fasting.
Here’s how I started.
First I went to my TDEE Calculator and found the recommended daily calorie intake I needed to lose weight. For this first step, I chose not to incorporate exercise. So when I calculated my TDEE, I made sure that my activity level was set as sedentary.
After you enter in your info, it tells you how many daily calories are recommended to lose weight. Mine suggested 1425 calories a day for my height/weight/age.
Now, I love our weekly family homemade pizza nights and a splurge meal every now and then, so I decided to do calorie cycling to allow for more number of calories on the weekend.
So Monday through Friday, I eat 1200 calories a day, 2500 calories on Saturday and 1500 calories on Sunday.
It still averages out to 1425 calories a day, but allows me to indulge when I want to.
Since I really liked intermittent fasting, I decided to add that to my 1200 calorie days.
I started with a 16:8 fasting program where you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. But that seemed too difficult to do, so I try for a 14:10 fasting window.
Starting Sunday evening, I stop eating around 6 pm. The next day, I have my first meal between 8 and 9 am. I follow this until Friday.
On Friday and Saturday night, I don’t fast at all and enjoy meals at whatever time I want.
That’s it in a nutshell. But I cannot stress enough that after this long process, I finally found what worked for me and my body. You may find another program that clicks with you, so don’t be afraid to try something and move on to the next thing if it doesn’t work.
Now let’s get to some questions you all asked!
Questions and Answers
Do you watch/track fat and protein?
No, I don’t.
When I was counting macros, I did count my fat, protein and carbs, but I noticed that when I hit all my marks, my calories were really high. Even though I was following a healthy eating plan with whole foods and lean protein, I wasn’t losing when I focused on fats and proteins.
However, I did learn better food choices when I counted macros and have kept those in my diet, just at a better calorie range.
Do you have a food or meal plan?
There is not a specific nutrition plan that I follow regularly.
What appealed the most to me about WWs was that I could eat what I want.
I focus on staying away from unhealthy foods, focus on fresh fruits, whole grains and real food instead of processed items while making sure my calorie intake is tracked.
I eat a variety of healthy food while also tracking portion sizes. I have a food scale and measure or weight everything to make sure I’m eating the right calories.
But if I have a craving for sweet treats that I can’t shake, I wait until the weekend and enjoy it.
I know many people thrive on a dedicated eating plan, but I like the flexibility knowing no foods are off the list.
TIP: Since I am eating low calories Monday through Friday, I’ve learned the art of eating volume. There is a vast difference in 100 calories of M&Ms (about 20) and 100 calories of watermelon (2 cups). That watermelon will fill up your belly and keep you satisfied much longer than those M&Ms.
How do you track what you are doing? What apps do you use?
For years, I used My Fitness Pal, because I love all things FREE! But the whole food + exercise set up made my OCD crazy. So I started looking for something new.
When I counted carbs, I found an app called Carb Manager and I loved the simplicity of it. If you are doing Keto, Low Carb or counting Macros – this app is excellent!
What is Intermittent Fasting? What are your fasting hours?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern of cycling between periods of eating and fasting with many health benefits. There are many options out there. 12:12, 14:10, 16:8, 5:2 are a few where you find a rhythm that works for you body.
I started on 16:8 where I ate all my food within an 8 hour period.
But having busy teens and an erratic work schedule, staying within that short window was difficult. Plus, I was really hungry!
Currently, I am fasting for 14 hours, starting at 6:30 and breaking my fast at 8:30 the next morning.
I only intermittent fast from Sunday evening to Friday morning, allowing my body to rest on the weekend.
To track my intermittent fasting, I found an app called Fastic.
It educates you on how fasting works as well as teaching you the different fasting programs you could try.
In trying how to find the right diet for you, intermittent fasting is an excellent way to start! It’s easy, doesn’t require any skill, tools or knowledge and has been practiced for centuries. Start easy eating in a 12 hour window and skip those evening snacks.
Are you doing any exercise?
At first, I wanted to focus only on the diet side of things, so I have yet to incorporate exercise.
I plan on adding more exercise habits now that I’m halfway to my goal weight.
I may need to recalculate my TDEE to ensure my body is getting enough calories which means eating a little more. If this proves successful, I’ll write a follow up post on how I’m doing that. 😉
How long did it take you to start losing?
Once I found the right diet for my body, the weight started falling off.
And that’s huge for a woman in her late 40s!
In ten weeks time, I’ve lost 29 pounds which is almost 3 pounds a week. I still would like to lose another 25 to 30 pounds and I know as I get closer to my ideal weight, the weight loss may slow down.
So this is what I’ve been doing and my process for getting there. I know it’s a long and detailed post, but I wanted to share as much information as I can.
There are dozens of diets out there that I haven’t even tried, like the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet, or dash diet.
But I stopped looking when I found what worked for my body.
And it may take much time when searching on how to find the right diet for you.
The key is to focus on good health and pay attention to your body if something doesn’t feel right.
Just like we are all made differently in height, shapes, colors – even blood types! – then know that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to weight loss.
The best diet for you is one that works for your body!
I hope these tips help you. I’m happy to share more details so feel free to ask me questions!
Your journey inspired me, Brendt! It’s a long process, but such an important journey!
I have had a similiar story too; tried various diets over the course of my life and yo-yo’ed in my weight. Grateful to have found one that has worked the last (almost) two years. Thank you for being so inspirational.
Thanks for taking the time to read, Corrie! If you have any questions – let me know. I am more than happy to help!
Thank you! This was really helpful.
I’m 43, and 2020 wasn’t kind to my waistline.
Wishing you all the best in 2021 and onward!